We offer a full line of concrete additives that can make concrete stronger, more crack resistant, more cost efficient, easier to place and finish, or simply more beautiful. Our experienced team of concrete specialists skillfully blend sophisticated combinations of chemical admixtures, fibers, supplementary cements and color pigments to support our customers’ innovations in construction methods while improving the quality, strength, durability and appearance of the finished concrete.
Chemical additives can be added to concrete to provide greater plasticity, workability and earlier levels of strength than from normal concrete or to maintain concrete quality in challenging weather conditions. There are five distinct types of chemical admixtures.
- Air entraining agents are added during mixing to produce microscopic air bubbles in concrete which will increase resistance to freeze—thaw cycles, improve workability, and reduce bleeding and segregation of concrete mixtures. Air entrainment is usually specified for outside concrete slabs and is not necessary for interior concrete.
- Water-reducing chemicals are used for two separate purposes: to lower the water content which increase the strength; or to obtain higher slump using the same water content for pumping concrete or in hot weather. Mid-range water reducers tend to be more stable over a wider range of temperatures.
- Retarders delay the initial set of concrete and are used primarily in hot weather.
- Accelerators reduce the initial set time of concrete and are recommended in cold weather as well as fast track construction where early strength gain is critical. Calcium chloride is the most common and least expensive accelerator for non-reinforced concrete. Non-chloride accelerators are specified when corrosion is an issue or when placing concrete in sub-freezing conditions.
- Superplasticizers or High Range Water Reducers are in a special class of water-reducers used to produce concrete for pumping concrete where high-strength is required, and congested steel reinforcement is present. Superplasticizers are the critical ingredient in self consolidating concrete (SCC) mixes.